When choosing to become a pet owner, it isn’t as simple as going shopping, picking out the cutest one and taking them home. Houses must be made pet ready, or it could result in extra expenses, or a tragedy, or both. Here are some typical things found in homes that we would normally think nothing of, but could pose a risk. Please take the time to read this article, and then learn about toxic items, and litterbox 101. If you are interested in adopting a pet from Corbett Cats, these articles are required reading.
Recliners & Sleepers:
Cats enjoy hiding in fun crawl spaces, but are not aware of the potential for moving parts. Cats and kittens both can and do crawl inside the mechanism of recliners and sleeper sofas and get crushed or suffocated before anyone knows what happened.
To avoid this, turn your recliner over, and ensure there is strong, tight fabric stapled to the entire underneath area. When folding your sleeper sofa away, be aware of where your cat or kittens are, and go slow.
Strings & Fringe Threads:
Even though the image a cat and a ball of string is timelessly iconic, string and cats do not mix. Cats have barbed tongues, so when they lick or bite something, it’s nearly impossible to spit it out, even if they wanted to. Any kind of string, or thread that has been swallowed has the potential to strangulate their intestines as it’s digested, and in some cases will kill them without emergency surgery.
To avoid this, remove rugs with fringe, keep cats away from laundry baskets that may have towels with fringes. Also watch for other stringy items like windchimes, jewelry, shoelaces, macramé planters, beaded or foil curtains, blind pulls, beaded pillows, even long human hair and some cat toys.
It doesn’t look tasty to me, but your cat may give it a chew! Barring that, they may enjoy peeing in the soil.
To avoid chewing dangers, remove all houseplants that are poisonous. See the list here. To avoid your planter becoming a litterbox, put fist size rocks on top of soil, or get creative and try plastic ornamental bulbs, toy balls, or anything safe (over 2″ diameter) and not fun to walk on or scratch.
Leaving dishes out has the potential for two problems. First, unsafe foods like bones or chocolate, or garlic, etc. All of which can kill a cat. Secondly, cats lick and push a bowl or dish until it’s cleaned or falls off the table. Broken glass can get in their paws, or worse, they could continue to lick from the broken pieces.
To avoid this, well, just don’t leave dirty dishes around.
Bells on the collar:
Bells on a collar is one of the best ways to avoid many mishaps. You can hear them when you are carrying something but cannot see them. You can hear them running toward the door you’re about to slam. You can hear them when they sneak into a room they shouldn’t be in.
Avoid panic if you think they got out, you may hear the bells but not see where they hid. If they do get out, you can not only find them easier, but the bells also alert birds.
*Note: collars should always be break-away type to avoid hanging if it gets caught on something while playing or jumping.
Carpet on Shelves:
Cats love to jump on, well, everything, including shelves. It’s easy for their inertia to cause them to jump up and slide across and fall down. Despite the common thought that cats can fall from any height and land on their feet, falling or jumping from tall heights can break bones, and, even if not, it is likely to cause arthritis in later years. Try to limit or avoid that happening.
To avoid this, buy shelving made for cats, or DIY with doormats you can buy at DollarTree, easily cut to size and affix the mats to dedicated shelving where your cats like to perch. They are easy to clean and give a good grip for cats.
Cats easily become hyper focused on prey. We assume they understand jumping from a great height would be dangerous, but that can be a fatal assumption or result in broken bones. Further, cats may become stuck or hanged on balcony bars they think they can fit through.
To avoid this, screen your balcony bars with low cost wire mesh, and run 4″ pvc tube or pvc roofing along the top railing, so they can’t get a grip to jump over.
Cats easily become hyper focused on prey. We assume they understand jumping from a great height would be dangerous, but that can be a fatal assumption or result in broken bones.
To avoid this, screen the window with something like this. Or keep the windows mostly closed.
Walkers & Wheelchairs:
You know how cats love to just plop down right in your walking path and roll over? Most of the time I love that and give her a long lovey petting, but people in wheel chairs or walkers may not see this. If they do see it, there could be an accident while swerving to avoid the pet. This is dangerous for all involved
To avoid this, read the section above about bells on cats, and remind those on wheels to watch out for or make noises like PSSSST while in motion.
Young children love to pick up cats. Please make them aware that cat and kittens of all ages may not like to be picked up and then jump out their arms or crawl over their shoulders and most often will use claws. This is a bad experience for both pet and human.
To avoid this, teach children not to pick them up. Put out crate mats on chairs and couches where you’d like the pet to sit next to you and they will almost always go right to them.
Cats love a warm spot. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, your feline friend could get more than he bargained for seeking warmth. Fireplaces can shoot off embers that quickly ignite cat fur. Wood stoves can become scalding hot on a surface that a cat may jump upon.
To avoid this, always have the heavy mesh fire screen in place when burning wood. Here’s an excellent source of info on this topic.
Bringing home a new animal can be exciting for you, but know that most pets get jealous. Very young and very senior pets have an easier time accepting a new pet into the home. However, some cats never get used to the new cat, and even the friendliest, most “chill” dogs may always regard a cat as something to attack and eat.
To avoid this, introduce cats slowly, through a door propped open an inch, or a gate. Watch this cat to cat introduction video.
With dogs, they MUST be trained before you bring a cat home.
Please review this video about dogs before adopting.
Candles & Incense:
While most cats will avoid a flame, they still may sniff at it and singe their whiskers. Also, cats may walk near or away from a flame and catch fur on fire. Fur can burn and catch the entire cat on fire.
To avoid this, use flameless candles, battery operated lights or engage in100% supervision during candle use.